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Nottinghamshire oil well

October 22, 2014

Whip Ridding Farm

An exploratory well was drilled here in January 2010 by Egdon Resources plc. Click here. It is a mile or so west of Kirklington well (click here) and well hidden.

from the road   from the wood    dukes wood

But walk through Redgate Wood from the nearby Dukes Wood oil well museum, and brave the “no-entry” signs protecting the pheasants.

oil well1   oil well2   oil well3

It doesn’t seem to be producing. Maybe they’re waiting for the price to rise.

Jim Thornton

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Breast feeding after frenotomy

October 14, 2014

Doesn’t always improve. May get worse.

No randomised trials of frenotomy to treat tongue tie (TT) (click here) report breast feeding outcomes beyond a week, and most are limited to 48 hours. Nevertheless enthusiasts often claim the immediate benefit is so obvious that trials with a “no frenotomy” arm are unethical.

Tongue-tie Babies Support (click here) advocate frenotomy, they call it revision, for a long list of problems, and link their 21,000+ members to surgeons such as Bobby Gaheri (click here) and Larry Kotlow (click here). For an example of their tone, here is the latter, writing on the group home page:

“The facts are quite simple. Revise as soon as you know there are or are potentially problems. No operating room, no general anesthesia, no waiting til older.”

However, the members questions accidentally reveal the poor results that many mother/baby dyads experience. Here are just a few quotes – all from different women.

“We had it clipped around 3 weeks but still no latch, even with a nipple shield nothing. I pumped for a while but now we are on formula.”

“Baby boy (two weeks old) is 8 days post revision and I’m feeling extremely overwhelmed/ discouraged. Baby fights at the breast during latching, does not transfer milk well (I’m having to pump and supplement after nursing), refuses the left breast 9 times out of 10, and hasn’t pooped in over 48 hours. Wants to suck but refuses to comfort nurse/cluster feed so I’ve had to introduce a pacifier. I’ve been working closely with my midwife and have seen/consulted with two LC’s [lactation consultants].”

“My 2 month old had a lip tie and posterior tongue tie revised about a week and a half ago. Her sucking hasn’t really improved, and she still struggles with reflux as I too struggle with pain during nursing still. I am doing her stretches every few hours like suggested.”

“We’re 10 days post PTT [posterior tongue tie] and ULT [upper lip tie] revision. We had two days of slight improvement, two days of bliss and now he seems to be back to his old self but worse in some ways (my pain has really increased and his gas has increased, though he’s spitting up less).”

“My little girl (4 months) had a revision of both tongue and lip almost 2 weeks ago. It was done w/ a laser and only seemed to hurt for a day or so. However, since the revision she has refused to nurse. I’m so frustrated. Hard as it was to get her to nurse well before, it was still way easier than this!”

“Two laser tongue tie revisions and a lip tie revision, CST [cranio-sacral therapy], chiro, lactation consulting, suck therapy, lots of milk supplements and my supply is dwindling more everyday :// This is so very frustrating!!”

“Just wondering if anyone who’s had their babe revised has had a period where their latch has gone waaaay downhill with constant pulling on and off the breast, almost like refusal? My four month old is 7 weeks post revision (her third) [...]“

“My six month old got his ULT clipped last Tuesday, I weighed him tonight and he has lost weight since the last time. Is this typical?”

Some mothers plead for good news stories having been overwhelmed with bad ones from outside the support group.

“[name redacted] can you share your experience please? I need to hear some positive ones after revision [...]”  “Yes [name redacted] could you share , I think it will help … I keep hearing horror stories”

And here is a story from a bottle feeding mother.

“10 week old had ult [upper lip tie] and ptt [posterior tongue tie] revised last week. I see better upper lip latch on bottle (we are ff [formula feeding]), but leakage from bottom of mouth (before revision we saw leakage from sides). Still hear clicking sometimes. Overall, seems like slight improvement but not much. Typical? Takes time? Or just means ties weren’t really his problem (he also has high palate)?” The same mother later on writes; “Also, LO [little one] sleeping is now all messed up? He no longer sleeps for long stretches at night? Up every 2-3 hrs?and fussy to put to bed. Normal? Didn’t use to be like this pre-revision. Also, will no longer take a Paci now? Starting to second think the revision.”

This one website has hundreds, maybe thousands, of similar anecdotes, albeit mixed in with success stories. The administrators usually blame inadequate division or aftercare, and relatively few mothers blame the surgery; it’s difficult to accept that you may have cut your baby unnecessarily.

But frenotomy does not always work. People who care about breast feeding should be calling for better trials rather than advocating yet more uncontrolled surgery.

Jim Thornton

Illicit sex

October 7, 2014

Come On Up and Rhetorical Questions by Hugo Williams

In 1999 Williams published a slim volume, Billy’s Rain, about an affair. It won the TS Eliot Prize and sold well. Rhetorical Questions is not just intimate – “the blank expression comes/and you set off alone/down the hall of collapsing columns”,  coo er! – but achieves much its effect through that marvellous trick of implying the opposite of what he means.

Come On Up, a later poem (Dear Room 2006), goes first for obvious reasons.

The 72 year old poet is not well. He has renal failure and his family have created a Facebook page (click here) to help him find a donor.

Come On Up

I thought about you as crudely as possible,
till my hand reached for the phone
and I heard you laughing
on the other end of the line.

I’ll never forget your rejection of my plan
to see a film at the weekend
“I can’t think that far ahead,” you explained.
“What are you doing right now?”

I wasn’t doing anything of course.
I remember your voice on the entryphone:
“Come on up Sunny Jim!”
I took the stairs two at a time.

Rhetorical Questions

How do you think I feel
when you make me talk to you
and won’t let me stop
till the words turn into a moan?
Do you think I mind
when you put your hand over my mouth
and tell me not to move
so you can “hear” it happening?

And how do you think I like it
when you tell me what to do
and your mouth opens
and you look straight through me?
Do you think I mind
when the blank expression comes
and you set off alone
down the hall of collapsing columns?

I Want You

October 4, 2014

Bob Dylan

Ali (UB40) Campbell’s fine cover (click here) of Christopher Ricks’ “favourite of all Dylan songs” (click here) inspired me look up others.

Here’s three good ones; Bruce Springsteen (click here), James Blunt (click here) and Sophie B Hawkins from the 1992 30th anniversary tribute concert (click here) which, for some reason, didn’t make it onto the record.  And here is the original from Blonde on Blonde.

The guilty undertaker sighs
The lonesome organ grinder cries
The silver saxophones say I should refuse you
The cracked bells and washed-out horns
Blow into my face with scorn
But it’s not that way
I wasn’t born to lose you
I want you, I want you
I want you so bad
Honey, I want you.

The drunken politician leaps
Upon the street where mothers weep
And the saviors who are fast asleep
They wait for you
And I wait for them to interrupt
Me drinkin’ from my broken cup
And ask for me
Open up the gate for you
I want you, I want you
Yes, I want you so bad
Honey, I want you.

Now all my fathers they’ve gone down
True love they’ve been without it
But all their daughters put me down
‘Cause I don’t think about it.

Well, I return to the Queen of Spades
And talk with my chambermaid
She knows that I’m not afraid
To look at her
She is good to me
And there’s nothing she doesn’t see
She knows where I’d like to be
But it doesn’t matter
I want you, I want you
Yes, I want you so bad
Honey, I want you.

Now your dancing child with his Chinese suit
He spoke to me, I took his flute
No, I wasn’t very cute to him – Was I ?
But I did though because he lied
Because he took you for a ride
And because time was on his side
And because I ..
I want you, I want you
Yes, I want you so bad
Honey, I want you.


Canoeing the Orne

September 30, 2014

Pont D’Ouilly to Thury Harcourt

This is a fine stretch of touring river, although some of the weirs are tricky. Hire customers in plastic self-drainers enjoy falling out, but traditional open canoeists need to take care.

0 km – Pont D’Ouilly. Weir and canoe club upstream of bridge. Glissade right.

pont doilly, weir   pont doilly     pont douilly to moulin

Launch right below the bridge. Alternatively launch in river Noireau, by the station road bridge, and shoot the weir pictured above.

0.75 km – Weir. Le Moulin Neuf. The shootable gap left runs into the bank, covered in rubber sheeting by the hire companies, but a too early break out has a high risk of capsize.

2 km – St Christophe bridge. Disused factory right. The line of the weir is marked on the map, and on the river by small buoys, but the weir itself has been flooded by the barrage downstream.

3km – Le Moulin barrage.  Power station right. Not shootable. A log slide eases the portage left.

orne barrage le moulin

5 km – Broken weir. Minimal drop. Shootable. The footbridge shown on both the map and Google Earth a few hundred yards downstream, had disappeared in August 2014.

6 km – Le Moulin à papier right. Weir. Glissage left marked by buoys. The drop is about a metre and steep. Lots of hire canoe capsizes. We got swamped. The portage left is easy.  The picture below is at moderately high water levels.

moulin to Clecy    1024px-Le_Bo_moulinàpapier

7.5 km – Barrage Le Bo. Despite an alarming sign on the right bank this is now just a broken weir with minimal drop.

8.5 km – Weir. La Bataille. The large gap left carries all the water at normal levels. Minimal drop. No problems. Shallows below.

9 km – Pont La Sauvegarde

pont dans la sauvegarde

10.5 km – Weir. Two large gaps left. Minimal drop.  Shallows below. Access left between weir and viaduct.

Clecy railway viaduct.

clecy bridge

11 km – Clecy left. Tour companies, rock climbing, abseiling, coffee and ice cream, bars and restaurants.  Camping right.

Weir. Tour boats shoot between the white buoys, but it’s a steep drop. I didn’t fancy it in my Canadian. Portage left.

11.5 km – Clecy road bridge. Toll house left. Excellent access just above the bridge on the right.

clecy toll house       P1060084   P1060085

12.5 km – island.  Shallows.

13 km – Cantepie bridge.  Shallows and small rapids above


14.5 km – Les Maison Rouges left. Broken weir.  Easy shoot left

15.5 km – D562 bridge

16 km – Island. Minor rapids. Pass left. Factory right. Until recently there was a large dam here. Click here for the story of its removal (in French).

18.5 km – Weir. Le Moulin du Pont left. Quite a big drop, but the slope on the angled glissade is shallow. Shootable for open canoes.  The mill left is now a private residence; no chance of a portage through that garden.

P1060088   pont de la musse

19 km – Pont de la Mousse

P1060089   map around pont de la Mousse

19.5 km – Railway bridge. Shallows below.

21 km – Barrage Les Rivieres. Decent drop but the high-sided concrete shoot in the middle is gently sloping. OK for open canoes.


22 km – Broken weir. Minimal drop. Easy shoot left or right.

23 km – Railway bridge


24 km – Camping left. Thury Harcourt canoe club right.  Land left or right above the weir. We stopped here. The weir looked to be too steep to shoot safely in an open canoe.

P1060042    P1060097    P1060092

24.5 km – Thury Harcourt bridge

P1060041     to thury-harcourt

Jim Thornton. August 2014

Birth Trauma

September 28, 2014

Immediately after the event* best try to forget it and enjoy the baby

*First four words added 1 October 2014

Despite modern pain relief and liberal Caesareans, traumatic births still happen. Delivery sometimes has to be rushed, forceps don’t always go as planned, epidurals may fail, or the baby’s shoulders get stuck.  Even births which appear normal to the midwife, may be perceived as traumatic by the mother.

Such women should be treated sympathetically, but should we do anything more?  Should we talk about what happened, or offer extra counselling? Many people think so. But might talking do harm – perhaps by encouraging rumination and bad memories?

We shouldn’t just assume that talking/counselling does good. We should compare outcomes among women offered extra counselling and those who were not. The best such evidence comes from randomised trials and from systematic reviews of such trials. What does it say?

There does not seem to be a Cochrane review of the effect of counselling/debriefing after traumatic birth. But there have been other systematic reviews.  One (click here) found 8 trials, six showed no effect, one possible harm and one possible benefit.

Another more recent evidence-based review (click here) found “midwife-led debriefing after an operative birth was ineffective in reducing maternal morbidity and the possibility of contributing to emotional health problems could not be excluded”. Or to put it another way, it doesn’t do good and might do harm.

Outside pregnancy the many trials of additional psychological support/therapy after other types of trauma, have been collected into two Cochrane reviews

The first (click here) showed no benefit from brief psychological support (BPS). If anything there was a non-significant trend for more post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the BPS.

The second (click here) showed no benefit from multiple sessions of early psychological interventions. The authors concluded that “multiple session interventions, like single session interventions, may have an adverse effect on some individuals”.

All the above refers to preventive counselling/debriefing soon after the event. Psychological treatment for the minority who are unlucky enough to develop long-standing distress is a quite separate matter.

But this research is the reason that in the short term, parents who have experienced traumatic birth should be encouraged to get on with their lives and avoid special counselling. For most of them putting the birth behind them and enjoying the baby is good therapy. Talking to a counsellor about what happened is as likely to do harm as good.

Jim Thornton

Fourth Former Loquitor

September 19, 2014

By Philip Larkin

Larkin writing from a woman’s point of view, like Wedding Wind (here).

Although ostensibly by “Brunette Coleman”, the pseudonym he used for his mildly pornographic girls school stories, this poem is serious and convincing. “Grass between clear-cut lips, that never yet/Thrilled to the rouge” just erotic enough for the pre-teen girl. The ending is pure Larkin.

He never published it.

Fourth Former Loquitor

A group of us have flattened the long grass
Where through the day we watched the wickets fall
Far from the pav. Wenda has left her hat,
And only I remain, now they are gone,
To notice how the evening sun can show
The unsuspected hollows in the field,
When it is all deserted.
wwwwwwwwwwwwwHere they lay,
Wenda and Brenda, Kathleen, and Elaine,
And Jill, shock-headed and the pockets of
Her blazer full of crumbs, while over all
The sunlight lay like amber wine, matured
By every minute. Here we sprawled, barelegged,
And talked of mistresses and poetry,
Shelley and Miss LeQuesne, and heard the tale
Once more of Gwyneth and the garden rake,
Grass between clear-cut lips, that never yet
Thrilled to the rouge: a schoolbag full of books,
(Todhunter’s Algebra – for end of term
Does not mean you can slack) and dusty feet
Bare-toed in sandals – thus we lay, and thus
The filmy clouds drew out like marble veins,
The sun burned on, the great, old whispering trees
Lengthened their shadows over half the pitch:
Deckchairs that the governors had filled
Grew empty, and the final score was hung,
To show for once the Old Girls had been licked.
Ah what remains but night-time and the bats,
This flattened grass, and all the scores to be
Put in the magazine?
wwwwwwwwwwwwwBe not afraid,
Brenda and Wenda, Kathleen and Elaine
And brown-legged Jill – three years lie at your back
And at your feet, three more: in just a week
The end of term will part us, to the pale
And stuccoed houses we loved so much.

Wenda. Brenda, Kathleen and Elaine
Have flattened down the long grass where they’ve lain,
And brown-legged Jill has left her hat,
For they’ve gone to laugh and talk with those
Who’ve played the Old Girls’ match out to its close.

Philip Larkin

James Booth, in his new biography (click here), suggests Fourth Former Loquitor owes something to this poem by Dorita Fairlie Bruce (click here), author of the Dimsie girls school stories in the 1920s.

To the Old Girls of Clarence House, Roehampton 

O Schoolmates of the long-ago!
Though scattered now, and far away
From that white-pillared portico,
And flower-fringed terrace, and the wide
Green playing-field, and all beside
That made our world – come back, I pray!

Forget, for just a little space,
The broadened lives of later years-
Come back again and take your place
At scribbled desk of easel-stool,
In those old days which were so full
Of such tremendous hopes and fears.

I wove you rhymes and stories then,
So here’s one more if you will deign
To turn your footsteps back again,
And tread the class-rooms and the stairs,
Join in the morning hymn at prayers,
Or tread the wood’s leaf-shaded lane.

And if from words of mine you catch
One breath of the old cedars’ scent-
Hear blithe young voices cheer the match,
Across the sunny field, or see
Forgotten faces flushed with glee-
I shall be well-content.

Dorita F. Bruce


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